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Chrysler posts loss; projects profitable 2011


Chrysler Group LLC, the automaker managed by Fiat SpA, reported a net loss for the fourth quarter and projected profits in 2011, the year it plans to go public.

Chrysler Monday reported a $199-million US net loss for the quarter, hurt by high interest rates on the $7.4 billion in loans from the U.S. and Canadian governments stemming from its bailout.

Excluding those expenses, Chrysler reported an operating profit of $198 million.

Its fourth-quarter revenue was $10.76 billion, a slight drop from the third quarter due to fewer sales to fleet customers. Fleet sales are typically less profitable than sales to consumers.

Chrysler's global sales last year topped 1.5 million cars and trucks, buoyed by a raft of new models.

For 2010, Chrysler reported nearly $42 billion in revenue, in line with its November financial projections. The company's annual operating profit of $763 million, topped its November outlook of about $700 million.

Chrysler emerged from a U.S. government-funded bankruptcy in mid-2009. It is now managed by Fiat, which owns 25 percent of the company.

The Auburn Hills, Michigan-based automaker is aiming for an initial public offering during the second half of 2011.

Chief Executive Sergio Marchionne has said the company must report a "couple" quarters of net income before an IPO.

The company forecast net income between $200 million and $500 million for 2011. It expects its 2011 revenue to jump by nearly one-third to $55 billion.

Chrysler said its operating profit would be some $2 billion in 2011.

But before a public offering, Chrysler must refinance its government loans for lower-interest debt. In 2010, Chrysler paid more than $1.23 billion in interest expenses.

The automaker's U.S. market share last year was 9.2 percent, up from 8.8 percent in 2009. The company aims to achieve more than 13-percent market share in the United States by 2014, according to its 2009 turnaround plan. CTV Two CTV News CTV News Channel BNN - Business News Network CP24